Saturday, February 16, 2019
  • Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 40,000+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 496,000+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,300+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

killing fish quickly

sciencemike

Gear Whore
Aug 30, 2007
230
32
68
Orange County, SoCal
This has been covered before searching will give you loads of information.

Basics...
Draw an imaginary line between the eyes.
Then draw two imaginary lines backwards to form a triangle using the eyes as vertices, with both sides as long as the distance between the eyes. -equilateral triangle.
Stab at the vertex of this triangle, aka where the lines meet, and go as deep as the eyes are down the side of the fish (well actually just a hair deeper).

How this works is it makes you stab in the center of the fish behind the eye. This guarantees you to hit the spine or the brain stem of the fish. The idea is to stab down far enough that you go past where the eyes are on the side of the fish. Then when you are down this far you need to wiggle the knife back and forth till you feel the fish flutter. Thats its brain or spine severing and the fish loosing control of its body.

Special cases.
Tropical Fish:
When dealing with a lot of tropical fish they have hard skulls or weird shaped heads so its advantageous to not go through the top of the skull. In these fish you can go up from inside the gill plate straight forward just below the level of the eyes. This will ensure severing the spine. Stabbing downward in a lot of these fish can put your hand in jeopardy from stabbing and sometimes requires a lot of penetration.

Flat Fish:
When dealing with flat fish their spine and brain stem goes up and over their gill plate. In these fish you do the same between the eye measurement to get the distance you need to strike backwards from the eyes, then simply aim a little bit above the gill plate. The spine will be close to the gill plate here so just a 1/2 an inch for 30 inch fish is good.


REMOVED LAST SECTION OF POST ABOUT GUTTING>
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Mr. X

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,022
1,318
418
Sunny Britain
As Mike said, the two common ways usually quoted are from the top (imagining the 3 apex of an equilateral triangle with the eyes) or up through the gills aiming to finish up at the same point. The advantage of the second method is that you are less likely to stab yourself.

Other thoughts/observations/suggestions:

* Spikes are good. Or a short thin dagger blade. Thicker blades need more force, which can be dangerous if the point skates off sideways or the fish moves suddenly.

* Tearing the gills of fiesty fish will bleed & weaken it.

* Hold the fish underneath, between the gill covers with gloved hands. You see this technique being used with fish of all sizes.
Advantage: As well as giving firm control, it tends to flip the fish upside down which usually quietens them down.
Disadvantage: you'll need to be careful not to stab yourself, as your hand is now inside the fish, directly under the area to be stabbed.

* Grey mullet often fight on after being thoroughly dispatched with the above methods. On our Mullet-thread, it transpired that a dispatched mullet will sometime continue to swim on after removal of the head! We think this is due to some of the "brain function" being lower down the spinal column (like frogs & chickens).

* Other techniques for dispatching mentioned:

- Holding the upper mouth and pulling the head up & back, breaking the spine (perhaps only suitable for smaller fish like mackeral?) [suggested by Devon/Cornish member]

- Using the spear, with fish still threaded, if knife or spike not readily available [suggested by Ted in Rio].​

* Watch a video of Italian spearo Georgio Daparin (DVD or possibly youtube), he deals with his fish quickly & quietly.
 
Last edited:

Padaxes

Shadow of his former self
Jun 2, 2008
566
197
58
Cornwall
cornish-sea.blogspot.com
Jeese mike that bleeding method is brutal! Not sure that counts as killing it quickly!

I am pretty damn rubbish at the braining thing, I never know when they are dead (especially as I catch alot of mullet) so I just go in hard and fast and chop its head off as quickly as I can.
 

sciencemike

Gear Whore
Aug 30, 2007
230
32
68
Orange County, SoCal
Yes spearfishing is brutal in most aspects, maybe no more than stabbing beheading or playing the fish out. But bleeding is an essential part for some fish as their prized meat gets ruined when you allow it to set inside the flesh. Bleeding improves most fish that I catch, as well as prompt gutting and icing. Just to put icing on the cake I often will try not to kill the fish if it can be handled easily, and let it bleed as long as possible to get the most blood out. There is also another trick that is used. Some people cut the tails off of a live fish, then let them bleed out through the tail with no worries of them fighting you.

Im sure there are other methods as well, these are just the ones im used to.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,022
1,318
418
Sunny Britain
Calling bleeding brutal is over stating it. It is the main way of humanely killing animals for meat the world over. If you think of the animal, or yourself, bleeding you would feel your strength and consciousness fading away - like getting a general anesthetic. I can think of worse ways to die. I have a lot of respect for vegans (but not vegetarians that eat dairy/eggs/fish), because it is VERY hard for humans/fish/animals to live without other animals suffering somewhere along the line.

I also question some of the rash statements made about stag hunting, before it was banned. I heard one scientist say that the animal suffered because he detected various hormones that indicated stress in the animal*. Well I just went mountain biking up a couple of steep hills and it was quite stressful in the heat but it was also exhilerating because it caused my body to produce endorphins, its own natural pain killers. From personal experience, I know that in positions of extreme stress, life or death situations, time slows down, pain disappears, you think & act extremely fast. The opposite of what the scientist was claiming.

*He didn't mention the hormones present in pheasants, rabbits, chickens, etc. cornered by foxes. Or deer surrounded by wolves. That's nature.
 

Padaxes

Shadow of his former self
Jun 2, 2008
566
197
58
Cornwall
cornish-sea.blogspot.com
I wouldnt like to have a general anesthetic that feels like having your stomach and lungs cut out and being left to die! Edit: not to mention having a spear hole through you somewhere!

Also the OP was asking how to kill fish quickly!
 
Last edited:

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,022
1,318
418
Sunny Britain
I wouldnt like to have a general anesthetic that feels like having your stomach and lungs cut out and being left to die! Edit: not to mention having a spear hole through you somewhere!

Also the OP was asking how to kill fish quickly!
Bleeding is not done by gutting or disembowling - that wouldn't work anyway as you'd remove the heart. For slaughter, animals usually have their throats cut. For fish, the gills are normally cut. It's not something I particularly advocate - I usually just spike them as quickly as possible. However, it probably has its place. For example, as a calming measure before spiking a large, feisty fish. I personally don't leave fish to bleed to death and find the meat tastes good, without any need for bleeding. I was surprised at Mikes response but am not familiar with the circumstances & fish that he deals with - I'm keeping an open mind. Perhaps others in Mike's area can shed further light on this?

Little reminder about nature: How do fish normally kill other fish (most/all seafish eat other sea creatures sometimes, many all the time)? Swallow them alive or chew them up. How do you fancy be eaten alive Padaxes, or digested while still alive? Or netted & suffocated/gutted.

They say that meat that hasn't been stressed tastes better. So, there is yet another reason to do it quickly, quietly & cleanly. We should all treat our prey with respect.
 
Reactions: Erik

Padaxes

Shadow of his former self
Jun 2, 2008
566
197
58
Cornwall
cornish-sea.blogspot.com
Indeed I`m specifically talking abou the aforementioned method that specifically mentions gutting while alive, leaving the heart in but not the stomach hense my "thats brutal " comment.

You have no need to remind me of the laws of nature, I`ve deliberatly not responded to the other comments in order not to derail the thread.
 
Reactions: Mr. X

sciencemike

Gear Whore
Aug 30, 2007
230
32
68
Orange County, SoCal
Indeed I`m specifically talking abou the aforementioned method that specifically mentions gutting while alive, leaving the heart in but not the stomach hense my "thats brutal " comment.

You have no need to remind me of the laws of nature, I`ve deliberatly not responded to the other comments in order not to derail the thread.
Sorry i should elaborate....

Halibut in our area have worms in their guts. If you let them die they will migrate from the guts into the fish's meat. So you take out the guts to prevent this. With tuna or yellowtail and some cartilaginous fish around here you bleed them out as the blood in the bony fish or urea in the shark blood can spoil the meat.

I removed the last section of the post about gutting the fish on the earlier post since it seemed unnecessarily offensive.

Fish i bleed out immedately...
Yellotail
Tuna
Halibut
Cartilagenous fish, aka Shovel nose, leopard shark, Mako

Fish i bleed if possible
Calico Bass
Barred Sand Bass
Perch
Sheephead
Any other fish i will use for sashimi aka Triggers etc

Fish i gut immediately..
Calico Bass,
Halibut
Sheephead
Or any other bottom feeders...

I wish i had WSB on there...But i only can catch those on HNL

And I am sorry it sounds brutal, and i agree with you it is. Maybe i did over do it, I have been stuck in a hot humid town for 4 days when i should have been on vacation, and i was a bit cranky. I removed the section of the post.. EDIT IN>>>>

Killing anything is brutal to some. Be it plant or animal, I just accept it as a natural part of life. It is true that bleeding out is one of the most peaceful ways to go. You just kind of doze off.

For the record I dont think Bill Mac bleeds his fish or guts them like I do so rapidly, but he doesnt hunt halibut or shark either. And im sorry if it sounded like i remove the stomach and let them swim around like that to bleed out. Its on my stringer at this point. And i have never cut a tail off, i have seen it done and its not easy.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Mr. X

Padaxes

Shadow of his former self
Jun 2, 2008
566
197
58
Cornwall
cornish-sea.blogspot.com
It`s intersting I can see where your coming from, I think I was just surprised because usuallu spearos seem to be all about fast dispatch, plus maybe Im a bit of a wuss and feel bad about all the fish ive killed!
 

sciencemike

Gear Whore
Aug 30, 2007
230
32
68
Orange County, SoCal
I feel bad posting it. Sometimes its best not to talk about certain things. I often forget others dont share my same feelings when it comes to animals and death. I grew up on a cattle farm, where we would often kill our named pigs for food as well as chickens and other livestock. When animals are close to you, and killing becomes a natural part of it all, you really do what you can to ensure all of the meat is usable and untainted. I sometimes realize my point of view is a bit weird, as i would consider not doing it this way disrespectful towards the animal and the meat. Sorry for the hijack but its related to the kill.
 
Reactions: agbiv

settingsteel

SettingSteel
Supporter
Aug 14, 2007
1,419
212
0
Miami, Fl
Most of what has been posted is quite accurate and thorough...so I'll just descibe how I dispatch my kill. While still on the shaft I insert my knife into the top of the head area between the eyes and make a sawing type slow motion towards the snout, covering about 2 inches, and feel for the telltale "death shutter" when this is confirmed I take it off the shaft and string up, with larger fish I first tear out some gills then once its manageable I proceed as with the smaller fish...after they are strung I gut them while still in the water, and continue the hunt.
 
Reactions: Mr. X

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,022
1,318
418
Sunny Britain
Any suggestions on killing trigger fish? Caught my first one but needed to dispatch it despite a head shot. The apex on the theoretical equilateral triangle is just where the long, strong, pointy spike is located! Also, the gills are unusually small and unusally low down, and the head is particularly narrow and boney. Also, they bite.

I attempted an external skull spike but quickly decided that was unsafe. It tried to bite me once. I then attempted a spike up through the gills but it was very bony. Not sure if it worked, as this one was surprisingly docile for the most part. So cut the gills & strung it backwards (from gill to mouth rather than vice versa) to avoid the teeth. Bad move: finally realised after an hour that the reason the currents felt so strong was the parachute effect of a sideways trigger fish acting as a drogue on my float!:D

A yummy trigger fish ( "tastes like chicken"):
 
Last edited:
Reactions: settingsteel

settingsteel

SettingSteel
Supporter
Aug 14, 2007
1,419
212
0
Miami, Fl
Trigs are nasty critters, but tasty indeed...seems you did everything right, even the stringing which alot of spearos overlook...trigs play possum to so always string mouth thru gills or gills thru to mouth...A couple of tips, hold 'em firmly in the eye sockets and gut'em, alive... also stick your stringer spike thru one eye towards the brain this can also dispatch them...I love eating trigs but refrain from shooting them unless its to unload my gun to board, if an exceptionally large one insists on getting shot then I proceed with the above 2 tips...good luck!!!
 
Reactions: Mr. X